A 2009 settlement agreement between deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and Virginia Giuffre, who alleges she was abused by Epstein and forced to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was under 18 years old, will be made public next week, Reuters reported.
U.S. District Judges Lewis Kaplan and Loretta Preska on Wednesday, December 29, 2021, ordered that the agreement be released on or around Jan. 3, saying they found no reason to keep it sealed, per the wire service.
Giuffre has brought a lawsuit against Andrew, saying that she was forced to have sexual contact with the Duke of York when she was still underage. Andrew, who has expressed regret over his “ill-judged association” with Epstein, has continuously denied her allegations.
Andrew’s attorney, Andrew Brettler, has argued that the settlement between Epstein and Giuffre shields Andrew from her lawsuit because it covered “royalty” and was meant to cover all future claims she made about the financier’s alleged sex trafficking scheme, according to Reuters.
“Prince Andrew’s attempt now to use the 2009 release as a get out of jail free card shows how desperate he is to dodge and duck the facts of what he did,” a lawyer for Giuffre, David Boies, has countered. Boies said that the settlement “at most” applied to those involved in underlying litigation in Florida, where Epstein had a residence, per the wire service.
Giuffre’s other attorney, Sigrid McCawley, has called the argument that the settlement releases Andrew from liability “another in a series of tired attempts by Prince Andrew to duck and dodge the legal merits of the serious case Virginia Giuffre has brought.”
On Tuesday, Brettler called for Giuffre’s lawsuit to be halted or thrown out, arguing that the Manhattan court does not have jurisdiction in the case because he said she has lived in Australia for multiple years, despite her claims that she is a resident of Colorado.
This comes as another of Epstein’s longtime associates, the British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, was convicted on Wednesday on five counts. Prosecutors accused Maxwell of grooming numerous girls to be abused and sex trafficked for Epstein, who killed himself in 2019.
Kaplan, who is overseeing Giuffre’s lawsuit against Andrew, is scheduled to hear oral arguments on whether to dismiss the lawsuit on Jan. 4, according to Reuters.